Geography Awareness Week
Nov 21 2013

Madagascar: Changing lives through community

Madagascar-FINAL1

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme “focuses on how geography enables us all to be intrepid explorers in our own way.”

Today we take a closer look at Madagascar, one of the countries in Africa where we work.

As the fourth-largest island nation, Madagascar is home to some of the rarest animals and plants in the world.

Lemurs, fossas and Ploughshare tortoises are just a few of the exotic inhabitants that draw tourists and scientists to its shores every year. The country’s isolation has allowed these species to survive.

Unfortunately, this isolation also means the Malagasy people can sometimes feel cut off from the rest of the world. Many of them struggle with chronic poverty, as the World Bank estimates that 92 percent of residents live on less than $2 a day.

Through sponsorship, families in Madagascar are receiving hope and support in their journey toward a better life.

Marie, an 80-year-old who weaves beautiful baskets for a living, knows that because of her sponsorship she is not alone.

Marie shows her finished baskets. By using her talents, she is able to help improve the quality of her life and earn money.

Marie shows her finished baskets. By using her talents, she is able to help improve the quality of her life and earn money.

“I am so happy to have a sponsor who takes care of my needs,” she said. “I pray for him every day for God to bless him.”

Not only individual lives, but also whole communities, are being changed. A village in one of the poorest areas of Antsirabe has been transformed since CFCA opened an office there.

Poverty and desperation had driven some residents to resort to theft and other crimes in an effort to make ends meet, while others had turned to drugs and alcohol.

Once parents of sponsored children began meeting together and using their resources to start small businesses, however, the community benefited. Trust and a support system among neighbors began to develop.

Victorine (left) and Albertine (right) in their village.

Victorine (left) and Albertine (right) in their village.

“I have lived in this community for 20 years, and I never felt safe,” said Victorine, whose grandson, Bienvenu, is sponsored. “This all changed when CFCA became part of our community. The people now are changing their lives and trying to make the best out of what they have.”

Sponsor a child or aging friend in Madagascar! After clicking the link, select “view children” and then choose “Madagascar” from the drop-down menu.

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